One of many Australian names on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list for 2016, Andreja Pejic is definitely one to watch this year. Not only is she the world’s first international transgender model, but also the self-proclaimed face of sex reassignment surgery and gender dysphoria.
From age 13, Pejic knew she was a girl. At the onset of puberty, she began to research online and found that there was an entire community of people who felt that the same. According to her, simply typing “sex change” into Google transformed her entire life.
In the midst of this journey, Pejic fell into modelling. The industry found that, prior to the surgery, the androgynous 17-year-old had a rare ability; the capacity to pose as both a man and a woman.
She first came into the public eye in 2010, when she was photographed for Carine Roitfeld for Vogue Paris. Since then she has walked in both men’s and women’s shows for the likes of Jean-Paul Gaultier and Marc Jacobs.
But according to her interview with Vogue, it “wasn’t all sweet sailing” in the beginning.
“[I’d] walk into the boys casting, and they were like ‘No, you don’t belong here.’ And then at the girl’s casting they were like ‘why are they sending us boys?’ So it took everyone a long time to get on board”.
Pejic underwent sex reassignment surgery in 2014, at age 22. Since the surgery her modelling career has only continued to blossom – nothing can hold this gal back. As these achievements weren’t enough, Pejic has and will continue to speak openly and publicly about gender dysphoria and sex reassignment surgery. Her message will not fall on deaf ears, with most estimates suggesting that this surgery transforms up to 25000 individuals worldwide each year.
Pejic told Vogue that her goal would be to “live in a world where trans-female models [are] treated as female models and trans-male models were treated the same as male models rather than being a niche commodity”.